As a result of the down economy, faith-based nonprofit organizations have been forced to find ways to work harder with less staff, support and resources. One creative solution is for these groups to utilize events to raise more awareness and support. But how can planners turn thinly stretched bank accounts into successful events and fundraising campaigns? Five industry professionals chime in with their expert opinions.
“Your tactics should change drastically depending on attendee demographics and the status of your market. Sponsorship planning should begin several months, even up to years, in advance.” —Lindsey Rosenthal, Founder, Events for Good “When we go to raise funds to cover the cost of hosting some particular event, generally speaking, our executive committee has had no problem finding community sponsors who are willing to commit to give support to help make the event happen. This is a very important way that the community has been able to engage and continue to support YLX Africa.” —Drew Voyles, Regional Coordinator, Young Life Expeditions Africa “As a nonprofit, we seek a volunteer chair/co-chair to help us reach our goal. They help with venue, theme, food, decor, etc. The challenges to planning fundraisers are building a committee and being able to pay for the initial costs of the event within a limited budget. Having an involved volunteer to put that together really helps.” —Haley Kilpatrick, Founder and Executive Director, Girl Talk Inc. “For us, it is important to also ask participants for a fee, even if it is nominal. This sends a message as the host that we want you to contribute to the experience and allows the participant to make a firm statement about a commitment to attend.” —Rachael Bregman, Director, Open Jewish Project “The challenge with events is to provide attendees with a unique experience that represents your organization. The important point to remember about the event is that for many it is an entry point. Just because the event ends, that doesn’t mean your relationship ends with the attendee. Don’t always just ask constituents for a donation. Engage with them. Tell them about other opportunities and how they are making a difference.” —Amy Braiterman, Principal Strategy Consultant, Blackbaud